Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Margaret Baker Graham

Second Advisor

William Donald Payne


This portfolio dissertation, comprised of three articles, seeks to clarify some of the trends and possibilities now open for new media communication by focusing on the material realities of the Web. New media and composition scholars are struggling with the materiality of digital technologies and their implications for pedagogy and literacy, often taking a materialist turn to understand them. The first article presents lessons, theories, student work, and students' interpretations of their work in an attempt to open a discussion on the material goals behind multimodal rhetorical practice. The second article presents a multimodal case study, which examines the creation of a competency-based electronic portfolio system that values the web sensible digital portfolio model while maintaining the advantage of a web-serviced application. The goal of this assessment system is to materially embed humanistic assessment practices within the technological structures of the university. Finally, the third article proposes that Rhetoric Technical and Professional Communication (RTPC) departments consider the Rich Internet Application (RIA) model to focus our efforts on incorporating critical/functional literacies of technology into our curricula. The RIA model currently is reshaping the information architectures of the Web by combining interactive multimedia interfaces with web serviced application structures. By pursuing the RIA model, RTPC can position itself to be a leader in the study and development of IT products and industries in a way that does not betray its rhetorical foundation, or its allegiances to humanistic expression.*;*This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following system requirements: Macromedia Flash Player.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Anthony P. Ellertson



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

13 pages